Drawing of the plan for the original School of Human Ecology building in 1914 on aged, yellowish paper.

During this era, the Department of Home Economics established its first teaching lab, a cafeteria, and tearoom to provide practical training in institutional management. At this time the Department divides into three “departments”, Administration and Foods, Clothing and Textiles, and Applied Arts.

Gamma Alpha Epsilon in 1925.
Gamma Alpha Epsilon in 1925

Gamma Alpha Epsilon was founded in 1921 to provide a professional organization for students who shared a common interest in home economics as a discipline and a career. This local sorority merged with the newly formed Nu chapter of the national honor society Phi Upsilon Omicron (Phi U) in 1925, knitting the Madison campus into the larger national home economics profession.

In 1923, the curriculum expanded with the development of specialized majors such as foods and nutrition, textiles, applied bacteriology, related art, and home economics journalism. Additionally, that year the formation of a tearoom and cafeteria provided students with real-world institutional management experience. Furthering community connections, the Department created the Dorothy Roberts Nursery School in 1926 at the request of neighborhood mothers.

Clothing Class in 1920.
Clothing Class in 1920.

Ever changing, the Home Economics Department is divided into three departments in 1924: Administration and Foods, Clothing and Textiles, and Applied Arts. Continuing with a theme of change, Applied Arts was renamed Related Art in 1927 while Clothing and Textiles, and Related Art remained separate. These areas became magnets for students interested in fashion, clothing construction, and careers in merchandising; the latter serving students with courses in areas such as occupational therapy, interior design, and costume design.